This is a medical condition where the joints in the body are inflamed by what is known as acute inflammatory arthritis. The main cause of this disease is an increase in the level of uric acid in the blood system. The uric acid forms crystals which are in turn deposited in joints, surrounding tissue and tendons. A diagnosis can only be made when there is presence of the crystals in the joint fluid. Over the recent years, the condition has been noted to be on the increase especially among those living in the West. Risk factors that are on the increase are believed to be behind the increase of the disease. These risk factors include metabolic syndrome, changes in the diet and an increased life expectancy rate. Historically, gout was called “the rich man’s disease”. Gout is a type of arthritis and is considered to be one of the most painful.
Gout is known to progress through four stages. The first stage is asymptomatic gout where there is an increased level of uric acid in the blood stream but there are no symptoms. The second stage is acute gouty arthritis where crystals of uric acid are deposited into the joints. Symptoms of gout may be experienced at this stage. The third stage is interval gout where there is an interval between the gout attacks and normal functioning of the joints. The fourth and final stage is chronic tophaceous gout where the gout has progressed and damage to the joint has occurred. The damage could be permanent and kidney damage may also occur at this stage. However, with proper treatment, this stage can be avoided.
Causes of Gout
The following are some of the underlying causes of gout:
- Diet is a factor that contributes to development of gout. Individuals that engage in the consumption of sweetened drinks, alcohol and red meat are more likely to suffer from gout than individuals who engage in healthy diets.
- Experts believe that genetics are behind the development of gout. The genes associated with thedevelopment of gout include: ABCG2 and SLC2A9. Any variation in these two genes increases the chances of individual developing gout.
- Some medical conditions such as metabolic syndrome are also believed to be behind the disease. Experts have observed that in nearly 70% of cases that are associated with gout usually have an underlying medical condition.
- Continuous consumption of alcohol contaminated with lead or exposure to lead elements eventually leads to kidney failure. Kidneys are responsible for regulating the level of uric acid in the blood stream and when they fail the level of uric acid is likely to increase with time.
- Trauma to the body especially the internal organs such as the kidney or the liver
- Patients who undergo chemotherapy are also likely to suffer from gout
- Dehydration and starvation are also behind the development of gout.
- Medication such as anti-hypertensive drugs and other diuretic drugs may make an individual’s chances of developing gout to become increased.
Symptoms of Gout
There are many symptoms of gout that are mentioned as below:
- A swollen joint that is red and hot. The most commonly affected joint is usually at the base of the big toe. The swelling can also cause the area to become tender to the touch. Other joints such as the knee, the fingers among other joints can also become inflamed. The pain can become so intense that anything as light as a bedsheet whenit touches the affected area can cause severe pain.
- The attacks may disappear spontaneously after a few weeks or so but are known to return to the same joint that was affected before or to another joint in the body. With time, the attacks become more persistent and may spread to other joints. The joints may suffer an attack simultaneously.
- People with gout are usually diagnosed with kidney stones.
- The presence of uric acid crystals on the tissues, tendons and joints is the most obvious sign of gout. These crystals are usually found on the Achilles tendon, the earlobe and the elbow.
Gout Home Remedies
People that suffer from gout have to take care of themselves. The following are some of the home remedies that are recommended for gout patients. Remember, you should always consult with your physician in order to get a proper diagnosis and before trying to incorporate these home remedies and herbal remedies yourself! Here are some of the home remedies and herbal remedies that you can try.
- Flamasil- There is also the newly discovered Flamasil which is very effective in the reduction of soreness, persistent pain, reducing inflammation and health improvement overall. It has been known to also treat a variety of other diseases.
- Strawberry Leaf Herbal Tea- You can also turn to strawberry leaf herbal tea. Drinking a few cups of this freshly wound herbal tea three times a day has been known to not only cure gout, but to also improve overall health, and remedy other symptoms. There is also the option of eating strawberries for two days, a remedy which only works if you eat nothing else for that 48 hour duration.
- Water– The easiest home remedy for gout, one that many people never quite believe, is simply water! Drinking around a gallon per day helps flush the excess uric acid from your system. Water not battles the effects of gout, but also acts as a very useful Gastro-intestinal tract cleaning agent.
- Cherry Herbal Tea- The use of Cherry herbal tea, brewed from cherry stems has also been known to effectively relieve the effects of gout. Mixing a cup of cherry stems with two cups of water, bringing it to a boil, letting it cool for a while, and then drinking it two to three times a day is considered to work rather well. Cherry stems are a very potent, natural gout remedy, with little to no known side effects.
- Vitamin C- Vitamin C supplements have been known to reduce the uric acid in the blood, causing the gout to heal rapidly. These supplements result in the substantial reduction of inflammation caused by gout, they help nourish the body with a steady supply of essential vitamins that help improve immunity and sustain holistic health.
- Use a Cane– When you have an attack on a joint, you may want to take your weight of that joint such as using a cane. If it is in the elbow or other joints in the hand, then you should avoid using that hand until the swelling and inflammation goes down.
- Lift Swollen Joint– The swollen joint should be lifted above the chest for as much time as possible. This reduces the blood flow to the joint. This is because your blood has uric acid which when deposited to the joint may increase the inflammation thus reducing blood flow may relieve some of the pain.
- Ice Packs– You can place ice packs around the joint to numb the pain and also to bring down the inflammation.
- Cherry Juice– Experts recommend the intake of cherry juice so as to minimize the intensity of the attacks.
Diet for Gout
People who suffer from gout are given dietary restrictions and are advised not to eat a variety of foods especially those high in purine. However, as much as they are advised not to eat certain foods, there are a few recommendations as to what they should eat. The following are some of those recommendations:
- Food that is rich in complex carbohydrates. These include foods such as fruits, grains and vegetables.
- They should also eat foods that are rich in low proteins such as soy, poultry or lean meat.
- Red and blue berries are also recommended
- Celery, bananas and tomatoes
- Foods such as pineapple which are rich in bromelain.
- Foods rich in vitamin c such as citrus fruits, potatoes, red bell peppers, etc.
There are other foods that are considered to have low levels of purines and can be consumed by people suffering from gout and they include:
- Peas, spinach, chicken, cereals, lima beans, kidneys, etc.
One important factor that people who are suffering from gout should know is that all protein foods have certain levels of purine. However not all sources should be eliminated from the list of proteins because their levels are relatively low compared to others.
Prevention of Gout
Gout is mostly known as a lifestyle disease. This means that it is associated with the lifestyle that someone leads. More often than not, this is a disease that can be prevented through proper care of the body. People who are at risk of developing gout should avoid the following things:
- Foods that are high in “bad” cholesterol should be avoided. This is because not all cholesterol is bad for your health. In addition, foods that are high in fat content should be avoided at all costs. Not only will these foods reduce the chances of you developing gout, but they will also reduce the chances of you developing heart diseases in future.
- Foods that are rich in purine should be avoided at all costs. Purine is a biochemical in certain foods that is broken down into uric acid by the body. Foods that are rich in purine include red meats and shell fish.
- If you are overweight or obese, enroll into a program that will help you to reduce weight. Weight reduction goes a long way into helping individuals to lower the levels of uric acid in the blood stream. However, the weight should be lost gradually and in a natural manner. Losing weight at a rapid pace is often associated with triggering gout attacks.
- Alcohol and alcoholic beverages should be taken at minimum portions. This is because alcohol is known to be a contributing factor to gout.
- If you are at risk of developing gout, ensure that your body is always hydrated by taking 6 to 8 glasses of water per day. This helps to flush out some of the uric acid from your blood stream.
- Dairy products that are low in fat are known to reduce the chances of a person developing gout.
- Adequate prevention of gout may include lifelong therapy by your doctor.
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